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Get Your Hoops Media Days Fix Right Here! Hoops Media Days!

basketballIf you’re looking for more info and interviews from the SEC’s basketball Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, check out our Overtime Page.  Video after video after video have already been posted and more are on the way.

Put simply: Our Overtime Page is the next best thing to you actually being at Media Days.  Check it out.  And don’t forget that you can keep going back further for more interviews by clicking the “Older Entries” message at the bottom of the page.

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Like Spurrier On Day 1, Bielema Closes Out Day 2 On Fire

bret-curlyjoeYesterday, as the final coach into the main media room, Steve Spurrier stole the show at SEC Media Days.  Today, Bret Bielema did the same.  The coach who looks more like Curly Joe DeRita of “The Three Stooges” than we’d ever noticed, brought the curtain down on Day Two with an impressive turn at the podium.

Sure, he probably got too fired up over a Gus Malzahn quote that he seemed to take too personally.  But even his heated rant served as a “Get to know me!” moment for one of the league’s four new coaches.

The lesson?  This guy ain’t gone bite his tongue.

Whether it was explaining his recruiting tactics — get into Florida and make a big push into Texas — joking about who might help him make said push — “We have a certain alumni who built a stadium in the middle of Dallas that’s very big” — or having a little fun with how low his team will be picked in the SEC West — “The lower the better.  The same group that’s gonna vote us a certain place tomorrow is the same group that a year ago today had us in the top five.” — Bielema was on.  He was engaged.  He was darned entertaining.

Now, does putting on a good show at Media Days mean much when it comes to on-field success?  Of course not.  Robbie Caldwell was worthy of an invite to an improv club in 2010, but he lasted just one year as Vanderbilt’s coach.  On the other hand, there have been mannequins that’ve shown more personality than Gene Chizik did… and he won a BCS championship.

But this event is as much for the fans as it is for the media.  And Bielema gave the media a number of good quotes while also firing up his own fanbase.  You think Hawg fans didn’t love Bielema’s heated response to that Malzhan’s quote?  Please.

So hats off to the last speaker of the day.  Again.  Beilema won Day 2 of SEC Media Days.

Watch video of Bret Bielema at SEC Media Days

 

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USC’s Spurrier Gets Yuks Talking About UM’s Freeze

laughing-smiley-faceLast year, Steve Spurrier upset Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze by saying that if he made out the SEC schedule, Georgia would have gotten LSU and South Carolina would have played Ole Miss.  Obviously, Ole Miss wound up improving to 7-6 in 2012.  And sometime between last year’s Media Days event and this year’s, Spurrier and Freeze have become pals.

Earlier today, Freeze said that he started wearing a visor as a high school coach to emulate Spurrier.  When asked about that — and about his comment a year ago that he’d have rather played Ole Miss — Spurrier aw-shucksed his way into some pretty big laughs:

 

“Well, last year at this time Ole Miss was 2-10.  (Laughs.)  They had a good year.  Hugh Freeze has done an excellent job there.  Naw, Hugh and I have a lot in common.  We both play golf, we both wear visors (more laughs), and we call the plays.  How can you not like a guy like Hugh Freeze.

You never know what team (that) was bad one year gets it going the next year.”

 

That last line is pretty ironic considering Spurrier complains so often about the league’s scheduling format.

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Spurrier Kicks Off Agenda-Fest 2013

CAROLINA MEDIA DAYSSteve Spurrier is big on setting the table when it comes to the national sports conversation.  Today at SEC Media Days he opened his session by launching into a push to pay players.  The Ol’ Ballcoach said that he and all of the other SEC football and basketball coaches voted at this year’s SEC Meetings that players should receive some additional pay from their schools.  In fact, Spurrier said that all of the SEC’s coaches — football and basketball — were willing to cover the costs.

Whether the other coaches wanted Spurrier to reveal their behind-closed-doors discussion or not is anyone’s guess.

Spurrier did say that his plan is “not pay for play, so please don’t say that.”  In his view, it’s “just a little expense money” for the players and their families.  (Spurrier’s plan might not provide much pay for play, but it most definitely is pay for play.)

Like a ballcarrier with his head on a swivel, Spurrier quickly switched direction and dove into the debate over Notre Dame’s power in the college football world.  The coach wondered aloud why all of the FBS commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director were involved in the new playoff talks.  The coach’s rapid-fire comments really had nothing to do with anything.  Perhaps Spurrier should drop in to the ACC’s media event and ask there why Notre Dame isn’t a 100% member of that league.

And then finally came the scheduling issues.  Spurrier pointed out that last year’s division winners in football each missed playing the top three teams in the opposite division.  South Carolina’s coach didn’t offer any solutions, mind you, he just wanted to say that the current set-up isn’t fair.

It’s clear that Spurrier is determined to offer up his own “state of college sports” speech as a kickoff to his Media Days session each year.

It got laughs because it was Spurrier, but in truth, it was a bit bizarre.

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Slive Says Hoops Didn’t Meet Expectations Last Year

MIKE SLIVE MEDIA DAYSThe fact that Mike Slive said today that SEC men’s basketball didn’t meet the league’s high expectations last season was not a surprise.  What was a surprise was the fact that Slive talked basketball at all during the league’s football Media Days event.

Slive reminded everyone that the league last week created a new position for a basketball overseer.  Mark Whitworth was named to the new position of “associate commissioner for men’s basketball” just six days ago.  Slive also announced today that former NCAA Tournament bigwig Greg Shaheen has been asked by the league to aid member institutions in putting together quality basketball schedules moving forward.

Those of you who read MrSEC.com on a regular basis know that we wrote on June 26th of this year that the SEC needed to hire a new “hoops czar.” 

Turns out the league has indeed put someone in that type of role and they’ve brought in another hired gun to help improve the league’s basketball product.  Smart move.  And, yes, we’d been tipped to the fact that such a deal was coming.  (Thus the article on the 26th.)

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Arkansas’ Smith At The Podium – 7/18/12

This one might be pretty entertaining.  John L. Smith steps to the mic to discuss his appointment as Arkansas’ interim coach.  Smith is a colorful guy off the field.  Throw in the fact that he’ll likely be asked about Bobby Petrino’s downfall, his own recent money woes, his shaky job status and the way he left his alma mater, Weber State, after just a few months on the job and you could have the best presser of Media Days.

We shall see…

* Smith talks about the great opportunity before him and calls “Hog nation” among the best fanbases in the country.

* Smith says adversity will make Arkansas’ team stronger.

* Smith said the welcome he got from Razorback fans led him to “wipe away tears.”  “We all have to relish our position in this program.”

* The coach says UA’s goal is still to win the BCS title.

* Asked if he wants to be the Arkansas coach beyond this year, Smith exclaimed: “Certainly.  Do I look stupid?!”  Asked if he had to go 14-0 to keep that job, Smith said that’s up to the athletic director.

* Smith says pressure has to roll off his players’ backs like water off a duck’s back.

* Smith says Missouri is a natural, geographical rival for Arkansas.  “To me it’s an automatic.  Now we get to develop that rivalry.”  He also said, “I see that developing into a big rivalry for us.”

* The coach said that his decision to leave Weber State was simply a matter of weighing options.  When one door opens, etc.

* Regarding recruiting, Smith says he’s told kids that no coach can guarantee he’ll be back.  “You’re not committing to an individual” is his sell.

* After a rough start — not knowing really how Media Days works and that he wouldn’t be introducing his players today — Smith is really getting fired-up.  His voice will rise depending on the question.  Not in an angry way, but in a pumped up kind of way.

* Smith said his wife updated him on Petrino’s situation, but it wasn’t something that he followed closely “from the outside.”

* He said he was “surprised” and “shocked” by what went down with Petrino.  He said “you pray for them” and hope the issues inside Petrino’s family can be remedied.

* Brandon Mitchell — UA’s backup quarterback — may not be the only Razorback to play a couple of positions this season.  He said fullback Kiero Small may play some linebacker because the Hogs aren’t deep at that position.  Mitchell has been working some at receiver.

* Smith says is LSU/Texas A&M becomes a season-ending game, Missouri/Arkansas would be a good season-ender.

* Smith said he got onto the radar of AD Jeff Long by talking to UA’s assistant coaches after the Petrino scandal broke.

* Smith said he talked to Petrino last week and that it was a good conversation.

* Smith’s high-pitched, loud voice is certainly unique to the league.  It’s a bit like someone stepping on a gas pedal.  He’ll answer for a minute or two in a normal tone and then he’ll get excited and BOOM… the voice goes up.

* Smith bragged on quarterback Tyler Wilson and his leadership abilities.

 

Our overall grad for Smith’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 4 on a scale of 1-5.  He was friendly.  He was entertaining.  But he also didn’t seem to know how in the world a Media Days session was to work.  He tried to dance around a question about whether or not he approached Arkansas or vice versa, but — as noted above — he eventually gave an answer.  Smith may well lead the Razorbacks to their first SEC title, but we’ve got a feeling that we just saw Smith’s first and last appearance in Hoover.

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Mizzou WR Moe The Hit Of SEC Media Days

When it comes to Day One’s quote machine, it wasn’t a coach who took home first prize.  Nope, senior Missouri receiver TJ Moe was actually the man whose gums flapped loudest… and most entertainingly.  The clear message?  He’s tired of hearing about how great the SEC is:

 

“People talk about how good SEC defenses are but don’t take into account how good Big 12 offenses are…

I know they won the last six national titles.  But all 12 teams didn’t win it.  Just one did…

They’ve also got prettier girls, the air’s fresher and the toilet paper’s thicker.”

 

Sounds like that chip on Gary Pinkel’s shoulder is actually a message that he’s sending throughout the Mizzou program.  Moe — who draws a lot of comparisons to the NFL’s Wes Welker — obviously received his coach’s message loud and clear.

Now let’s see who around the SEC takes note of Moe’s many messages from Media Days.

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Vanderbilt’s Franklin At The Podium – 7/17/12

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin is stepping in front of the mics and cameras in Hoover, Alabama to close out Day One of SEC Media Days.  A year ago, no one knew much of anything about the former offensive coordinator at Maryland who’d just walked into the SEC’s most trampled-on program.  He used his Media Days debut to show that Vandy had hired someone sharp, quick and confident.  Since last July, he’s continued to be sharp (aside from a goofball statement regarding coaches’ wives needing to be pretty), quick and confident.  To the point of getting under the skin of a number of rival fanbases.

Let’s see what he says to kick off his second SEC season…

* Franklin ran through a long list of new facility improvements coming to Vandy in his opening comments.  He also spoke to the bowl game VU went to in his first season and the media attention his program has gotten.  Then he mentioned Vandy’s improved team GPA.  It was impressive list (though it would have been more impressive if he weren’t a fast-talker a la Dan Mullen and Gary Pinkel).

* Franklin says having so many starters back will be very important for his team this year.  It won’t be a matter of learning new systems.  He is concerned about leaders on his defense.

* “We had just enough success that it whet (the team’s) appetite.”

* As I said during Franklin’s comments last year, the guy knows how to recruit.  I’d sign for him.  The guy could sell an Esdel.

* Asked about the Tennessee rivalry, Franklin said he’s focused on the season opener with South Carolina, calling it a great opportunity for his program to open up with a top 10 program in Nashville on national television.

* Franklin expects quarterback Jordan Rodgers to make a big jump as a second-year starter.

* “If you have a quarterback you have a chance (to win).”  Franklin says the SEC’s depth at quarterback should make for another good year in the SEC .

* The coach says the past isn’t as important to players as the future is.  True or not, that’s exactly how a coach at Vanderbilt should pitch his program.

* “We still have a long ways to go and I understand that, but we’re taking steps in the right direction.”  Franklin said the administration, students, fans and community have to pull the same rope together with his team.

* Franklin suggested that Vanderbilt might have the toughest non-conference schedule in the SEC because it features two BCS opponents — Northwestern and Wake Forest.  Of course, a game with Presbyterian kinda/sorta eats into that claim.

* The coach says the administration has given him exactly the kind of support he expected when he accepted the Vanderbilt job.

* When asked about bad blood between his team and Georgia’s due to last season’s postgame dust-up, Franklin would say only that he and his program had “tremendous respect” for all of the programs and coaches in the SEC.  He did say, however, that when a team plays Vanderbilt, it had better be ready to play from the first whistle to the last.

 

Our overall grade for Franklin’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 5 on scale of 1-5.  Vandy’s coach may not be as entertaining a speaker as Steve Spurrier, but he’s as good a salesman for his program as there is in the SEC.  If his team can take any kind of step forward at all in 2012, expect bigger name programs to come calling.  ‘Cause he clearly understands the off-field portion of the job.

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SEC Headlines – 7/17/12

We’ll get you started today with just a few headlines from around the league, but we’ll have full and complete coverage from SEC Media Days when they kick off today at noon ET.

 

1.  Matt Hayes of The Sporting News has an SEC primer for Missouri and Texas A&M fans.  (Good stuff, but for all his “you can’t just throw it in the SEC” talk, he doesn’t mention Arkansas’ pass-first offense.  No titles, but lots of wins the last two years.)

2.  Here’s a look back at some of past Media Days’ most memorable quotes.

3.  Here’s a list of who’s on tap today in Hoover: South Carolina, Texas A&M, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

4.  Oops.  Former Alabama player John Copeland says he was joking when he said Reuben Foster was switching his commitment from Bama to Auburn “because Reuben was paid more than Alabama was willing to pay him.”  (Between guys like Copeland and Charles Barkley, it’s no wonder the whole world believes SEC programs cheat their rears off.)

5.  LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger will be a hot topic at Media Days.

6.  Some Mississippi State fans are going to have trouble watching their team’s game with Troy on the internet.  (On the same day, Ole Miss will play Texas on national television.)

7.  “Forward Rebels” — a group that openly called for the ouster of ex-UM AD Pete Boone — has now disbanded.

8.  It’ll probably be a hot one when Florida visits Texas A&M on September 8th.

9.  Mark Richt says he’s got “some outstanding running backs” who will get more playing time thanks to Isaiah Crowell’s dismissal.

10.  First, I wanted world peace today.  Second, I wanted a preview of Kentucky’s football game with Kent State.  (One out of two ain’t bad.)

11.  Tennessee cornerback Prentiss Waggner says receiver Justin Hunter is “100%” back from ACL surgery.

12.  Media Days will help to show if people now view Vanderbilt in a different light.

13.  Missouri’s in for an over-the-top experience in Hoover.

14.  Several big names won’t be at Media Days this week.

15.  The SEC divisional split has been pretty even the past 20 years, but will that still be the case moving forward?

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SEC Media Days To Get Under Way After Massive Bar Shooting In Tuscaloosa

When it comes to SEC Media Days, there’s always some surprise, some scandal that takes over the event.  Today, Media Days will begin under the shadow of tragedy.

Around midnight ET, a gunman entered a Tuscaloosa bar popular among college students and opened fire injuring — reports say — 17 people.  The Birmingham News reports that surveillance video from the Copper Top bar shows the gunman, who is now the target of a massive manhunt.

At least two people are in critical condition following the shooting.

Media Days opens in Hoover, Alabama just about an hour away from Tuscaloosa.  Once again, sadly, the prayers of MrSEC.com have to go out to the people in the University of Alabama family.  All the best to the victims — students and non-students alike.

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